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- The 1950s: Cool Jazz And Hard Bop?
It's hard to think of a new melody you can hum, and jazz needs familiar melodies for invention. Jazz can't build on sand. If jazz has a future, musicians like Matt Mayhall could help it get there. A lanky, bespectacled Reno native and graduate of Cal Arts, where he studied with free-jazz pioneer Charlie Haden, Mayhall leads a jazz trio from behind the drum kit. Musicians need to make a statement, he says.
And for an unpopular music to engage with popular culture makes a kind of intuitive, inevitable sense. Not likely. How about the songs written by brash young soloists and bandleaders, tired of the same old songs — any of them compare to the best by Mingus, Coltrane, Parker, etc.? Most important: The songs that work best for jazz provide an outline, a blueprint for improvisation.
But there are signs that, if handled properly, the repertoire could open up. Bill Frisell can make almost anything sound like jazz.
When asked if it might just take a while to build a new repertoire that could be as powerful as the old American songbook, Rollins gives a little chuckle. The most successful jazz artist at reconciling a sense of history with the urge for forward motion may be the pianist Brad Mehldau. Now in his early 40s, Mehldau came up in the '90s overwhelmed, like many musicians of his generation, by almost a century of styles. His first record included the usual mix of Ellington, Coltrane and Cole Porter, but within three years, he had begun to play songs by the Beatles, Nick Drake and Radiohead.
Chapter The s: Cool Jazz And Hard Bop | Jazz: Essential Listening: W. W. Norton StudySpace
Will Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear be next? Indie rock has come up with fresher melodies than Grammy-endorsed mainstream genres have. So what did Mozart do? He wrote a piano sonata with a Turkish movement in it. If, in his time, he knew about Javanese gamelan music or the blues, he would have gone in those directions too.
“Do You Know…?”
So would Art Tatum. Every generation is a sponge. He wishes there were more recent stuff in there. In some ways, the story of jazz is the story of any art form, or any kind of American culture. But jazz is also different. McPartland welcomed a guest for each hour-long episode, they talked about music, and McPartland and the guest played music in interludes between the on-going conversations.
This weekly, one-hour program uses a documentary style approach to examine the lives and musical contributions of jazz legends ranging from Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington to Miles Davis, and Sonny Rollins click here for the interview. The Evolution of Jazz Standards. What is a jazz standard? Who decides what songs are best to play? Pianist Monty Alexander put it most succinctly. Musicians of all generations revere the saxophonist, praising his playing, his unique sound, his composing, arranging and orchestrating skills, his magic as a teacher, his humor, humility and humanity. Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide.
And so on, until they found something they could agree on and began to play. To that end, here are three lengthy descriptions of bands at work, two of them in places we know well. Becker describes a scene from the s, a bar in Chicago where he and his colleagues in the Bobby Laine Trio put together nights of music in a way that could then have been found all over the country.
Then Faulkner describes a contemporary scene in a New England restaurant and the very different way he and his colleagues did it in the early s. This is as good a place as any to note that we have used masculine pronouns throughout, because all of the people we observed or interviewed, with a few exceptions that we have noted, were men.
The music business is overwhelmingly a male business, almost all the women involved being singers [some of whom play piano as well, often accompanying themselves]. An excellent discussion of this phenomenon appears in Buscatto Like many such corners in Chicago then, 63rd and Normal was a small neighborhood business community, with a complement of retail stores, a couple of small restaurants, and several bars.
The Club was, as its gaudy neon sign let you know, the biggest bar on the corner and the only one whose license let it stay open until four in the morning five on Saturday night ; the others all had to close at two three on Saturday night. The back room of the bar filled up on busy weekends but otherwise was empty at night. During the day, it housed a thriving handbook, which took bets on horse racing and may have provided a sizeable share of whatever profits the club made. The big boss, Joe Contino, was a small-time hoodlum who claimed to be the uncle of a well-known accordion-playing pop star and he might have been.
Joe wore expensive suits and had a sort of dapper air. His assistant, Ralph, did the dirty work, filling the bottles with Old Philadelphia and taking care of the horse-racing business in the afternoons. We played from a revolving bandstand in the middle of the long oval bar in the front room. It was just big enough to hold a small upright piano, a drum set, the saxophonist, a bass player if we had one and, early in my stay with the band, a trumpet player. Long-term, the band was a trio: Bobby Laine, tenor saxophone, singer, and leader; Howie Becker, piano; and a succession of very good drummers.
Bob had been a pilot in WWII, and had lost an eye in combat. I was in my early twenties, had just finished a Ph. I had studied piano with Lennie Tristano, who later became a sort of reclusive jazz legend, but thought, though I was certainly competent, it was unlikely that I would ever be a great jazz pianist. We played forty minutes out of every hour. The twenty-minute break was long enough for a drink, a cigarette, even a run down to the corner for a quick hamburger. We never rehearsed during the year and some months Bobby Laine and I worked together.
We just got on the stand and played, one tune after another, for forty minutes. One of us might play two choruses now and then.
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Sometimes he snapped his fingers to set the tempo for the next song, sometimes I just started playing at whatever tempo seemed right to me. We did not discuss keys, we just played whatever we were going to play in the key we had played it before. In addition, I used to insist that Bob learn to play and, especially, to sing he was a better singer than saxophonist tunes I thought interesting, which I got from records and elsewhere. Bobby sang, in addition to a variety of popular songs and unusually for an Irish American of that day , blues, especially when he could work in some dirty lyrics.
But he also did well with ballads and show tunes, and I undertook to enlarge his repertoire by teaching him the kinds of less-well-known songs in which I was becoming expert. And he was also ready to pick up less-known ones, especially if the lyrics were a little suggestive. Patrons of the bar sometimes made requests, which we did our best to ignore. Mostly, however, the customers, busy drinking and socializing, ignored us completely.
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Once in a while someone would look up, puzzled by the more or less sophisticated repertoire we were playing. As the night went on and the crowd got drunker, we tired out.
Playing such long hours, we would start to repeat ourselves, forgetting whether we had played this or that song already that evening. Our constantly changing repertoire was larger than that, but ninety represents the minimum we knew and more or less had to know to get through a night. Even so, we often got bored, playing the same songs over and over which is how it felt to us , and that led one or the other to suggest new tunes. Joe, the boss, took an active interest in how well the bar did, and that created some difficulty for us.
But he did fire us a few times so that he could try out groups he thought would do better for him: a Gypsy band one time, and an all-girl band as they were called then another time. We picked tunes to play the same way in all of them. Club date musicians played for private parties: weddings, debutante balls, bar mitzvahs an important component of the music business in New York City with its large Jewish population , banquets, and parties given by charitable organizations or corporations.
They provided background sound and played for dancing. Bands consisted of as few as three or four players to as many as twenty. MacLeod notes two astounding features of their performances: they played continuously for three or four hours, and they played what seemed to be complex multipart arrangements without any written music or rehearsals, even though some, perhaps many, of the players had never played together before.
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